Government investment results in new markets for Welsh red meat industry

Three years-worth of government investment of £1.2 million to fund export activities has resulted in over £38m of new safeguarded business for PGI Welsh Lamb and PGI Welsh Beef. 

New business in emerging markets included almost £11m of new exports to Scandinavia, £4m of additional business in Italy and £1.5m in extra business in new and developing markets for PGI Welsh Lamb such as Hong Kong, Switzerland and Canada.

In addition, the programme, designed to support the work of Hybu Cig Cymru – Meat Promotion Wales (HCC), also helped to secure a range of existing business, including £13m in combined exports to France, Spain and the United Arab Emirates.

The three-year scheme gave HCC the freedom to undertake a range of promotional activities across the globe, including raising awareness for and promoting PGI Welsh Lamb and Beef in supermarkets and foodservice agencies, as well as having a presence at key trade fairs.

“In the face of a difficult global economic climate, we have had to maintain our gains in recent years in terms of red meat exports against cheap imports, and political pressure in favour of domestic produce,” said Lesley Griffiths, cabinet secretary for environment and rural affairs. “So it’s very pleasing that the Welsh government’s three-year investment programme in supporting exports and developing new markets for quality Welsh Lamb and Beef has produced such an excellent return.

“For an investment of £1.2m over three years, we have supported HCC and the Welsh red meat sector to maintain £20m of existing trade, and secured over £18.5m of new business, both in markets where Welsh produce is already well-known and breaking new ground.”

Griffiths added that this export development work had helped to protect lamb prices at home against recent pressure from cheap imports, with the programme giving a major boost to the red meat sector worth £1bn a year to the Welsh economy, as well as contributing £200m of total exports.

“The success of this programme will be vital in putting the industry on a firm footing during the uncertainty of the post-referendum period, as Wales seeks to maintain established markets in Europe and renew our efforts to develop trade further afield.”

Meanwhile, Dai Davies, chairman of HCC, said the levy board was “very grateful” for the commitment from the Welsh government.

“Before embarking on this project, HCC undertook thorough research on which countries we needed to do work to protect existing trade, where there was the greatest potential for export growth, and the strategies that would work in each market,” he said. “It’s very encouraging that business relationships were protected and developed in existing markets such as Italy, France, Germany and Spain, and that red meat from Wales is also now gaining a presence in Switzerland, Hong Kong and other new areas.

“We are very grateful to the Welsh government for this support, and to our producers and processors throughout the supply chain for maintaining the premium quality for which Welsh Lamb is renowned.

“Now that this project has been successfully completed, HCC’s market development team will continue to work with retailers across the world on promotional campaigns, to meet the challenges of the next few years when the Brexit vote will change the landscape for our industry.”

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